Treponema pallidum, total antibodies
Why this test?
For the diagnosis of syphilis.
For the examination of all pregnant women for preventive purposes (preferably at the first gynecologist appointment, when registering).
In what cases is it prescribed?
For symptoms of syphilis, such as a hard chancre on the genitals or in the throat.
When a patient is being treated for another STD, such as gonorrhea.
During pregnancy, because syphilis can be transmitted to the developing fetus and even kill it.
When it is necessary to determine the exact cause of the disease, if the patient has non-specific symptoms that are similar to syphilis (neurosyphilis).
If the patient is infected, he should repeat the syphilis test after 3, 6, 12 and 24 months to make sure that the treatment has been successful.
The analysis is carried out in order to detect Treponema pallidum (pale treponema) - the bacterium that causes syphilis - a chronic venereal infectious disease that is most often transmitted sexually, for example, by direct contact with a syphilitic ulcer (hard chancre), intrauterine infection is also possible. The source of infection is a sick person. Syphilis is easily cured, but threatens serious health problems if left untreated. An infected mother is able to transmit the disease to her fetus, which can develop serious and irreversible changes.
There are several stages of syphilis. The primary occurs approximately 2-3 weeks after infection. One or sometimes several sores, called chancres, appear, as a rule, on the part of the body that was in contact with the chancre of the sick person, for example, the penis or vagina. Most often, a hard chancre is painless and can go unnoticed, especially if it is located in the rectum or on the cervix. The ulcer disappears after 4-6 weeks.
Secondary syphilis begins 2-8 weeks after the first appearance of a hard chancre. This stage of the disease is characterized by the appearance of a roseolous-papular rash on the skin, more often on the palms and soles. There are other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and body aches. If syphilis is not treated, it can develop in a latent form, in which the infected person does not show any symptoms, but he continues to be a carrier of the infection. This stage sometimes lasts for years.
15% of untreated patients develop late, or tertiary, syphilis, which can last for several years and eventually lead to mental illness, blindness, neurological problems (neurosyphilis), heart disease, and even death.
There are several methods that can be used to test for syphilis. One of them allows you to determine antibodies to T. pallidum in the blood. This analysis is the most sensitive and specific for the detection of treponemal antibodies at all stages, including early ones.
When a person comes in contact with T. pallidum, their immune system responds by producing antibodies against the bacteria. Two types of antibodies to pale treponema can be detected in the blood: IgM and IgG.
In response to infection with T. pallidum, IgM antibodies to T. pallidum are produced by the body first. They appear in most patients at the end of the second week of the disease and are present in them in the primary and secondary stages. Immunoglobulins of class G to T. pallidum in determined quantities appear in the blood 3-4 weeks after infection. Their concentration increases and in the 6th week begins to prevail over the concentration of IgM, reaching a maximum, and then remains at a certain level for a long time.
Starting from the 4th week, the amount of both types of immunoglobulins in the blood increases, which leads to a positive result of the test for total antibodies to T. Pallidum. This allows the use of this study for early diagnosis of T. pallidum infection.
After effective treatment, the concentration of immunoglobulins gradually decreases, but this happens slowly, in some cases, antibodies can be detected after a year or more.
You can get rid of syphilis with the help of antibiotics, and it is preferable to use penicillin derivatives. In the early stage of the disease, it is easier and faster to treat. Longer therapy may be required for patients infected for more than a year.